One of the hallmarks of Neptunian culture is its laid-back, decentralized nature, with very little in the way of officials and organizations. The most visible planetwide exception to this trend is the Neptunian Order of LifeGuardians, or simply Lifeguards for short. As one might expect from the name, most of the lifeguards on duty at tourist spots are members of the order, but their charge goes far beyond that. Their devotion is to guarding life in the truly general sense, with the Lifeguards willing to act as healers, counselors, and protectors for anyone on the planet who needs them.
Despite being undeniably a planet-wide organization, the Lifeguards still display the typical relaxed, communal Neptunian spirit. Membership is more a matter of voluntary association than official admittance, with any Neptunian so-inclined able to subscribe to the psi-channels that carry both training info and communication. True membership and standing are achieved simply by following the training and performing as a Lifeguard ought, a reputation level that is communicated by both infosphere and psi-modulation.
Lifeguard training is something like learning a martial art, with a distinct lack of the ‘martial’ part. Novitiates are taught basic techniques like rescue breathing and speed-swimming, within a philosophical framework of guardianship and respect for life. The core of this philosophy is the concept of the Flow, a concept or abstract entity representing reality in balance, everything moving in just in the right way to help everything else.
Greater understanding of and connection with the Flow is gained through study of social interactions and psychology. More than most Neptunians, Lifeguards must learn how to interact empathetically with other sophonts without the aid of their psilinks. This has not only a pragmatic use, since Lifeguards tend to interact with offworlders in tourist locales, but also a philosophical one, as all beings have a place in the Flow, and superficial mindblindness should never be used as an excuse to avoid understanding.
Through all these methods and more, a deep enough connection to the Flow can be forged to allow a Lifeguard to call on it more directly, granting them such esoteric powers as water manipulation and psychic healing. The iconic image of a skilled Lifeguard is of a figure rising from the water, with bands of softly-glowing water flowing around their form as protection. Underwater, these constructs remain intact, visible only through their glow, and enabling the Lifeguard to swim at astonishing speeds. This control can even subtle and strong enough to form detailed constructs from water, both above and below the surface.
The different divisions of the Lifeguards are as strict as anything else in the group, which is to say not at all. Mostly, some just find them useful in order to talk about the sorts of things they like to do and how ‘deep’ they feel they’ve gotten in their training. The four corps correlate vaguely with the level of experience a Lifeguard has, but there’s no stigma in staying in, or going back to, any different level. In fact, many Lifeguards will hop around from one role to another as quickly as more than once a day. It all comes down to what needs doing, and what someone’s in the mood to do.
The Littoral Corps is mainly found on the surface and the beaches, and thus are the most likely to be social with offworlders. This corps covers traditional lifeguarding, of course, as well as greeting new arrivals and outreach to other worlds.
Their characteristic color is aqua.
The Neritic Corps works in the dome cities, both those that float and those that sit on the coastal ocean floor. They deal with Halcyonians and offworlders in equal measure, so they have to be ready to be very flexible in their social approaches. They tend kelp forests, act as counselors and mediators, as well as guides for tourists and social workers for new immigrants.
Their characteristic color is cerulean.
The Pelagic Corps is for those Lifeguards who are in the mood for adventure and exploration in the wide oceans. They’re often seen riding mantas or other psi-bonded mounts. They can be found patrolling for pirates, leading holo-safaris, or cataloging new sea life.
Their characteristic color is sapphire.
The Benthic Corps has a reputation for being deep. Deep on the ocean floor, and deep in thought, the nearest thing Neptunians gets to monasticism. They supposedly mostly spend time meditating and learn more about the Flow, but then again, there’s always those rumors they defend the ocean from the Eldritch Terrors of the Deep...
Their characteristic color is indigo.